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By 7 August 2015 | Categories: Press Release

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By Alan Knott-Craig, CEO of Project Isizwe

Every day someone living in a poor community cannot study, get healthcare, learn our country’s national anthem, search for a job, find love, discover the world or simply listen to a song online. At Project Isizwe, we want everyone to be able to use the Internet, not just those fortunate enough to afford it.

Imagine what it would be like if the poor had no roads to drive to work on? Or water to drink or wash? Or no toilets? It is not only unfair, it is not sustainable. There would be a revolution if the majority of people did not have water. If we want to live in South Africa for the rest of our lives, then it is in our interest to reduce inequality. At Project Isizwe, the inequality we can tackle is digital inequality by bridging the digital divide.

The ingredients for our success are humility, going the extra mile, respect, helping people and keeping costs down.

Humility is important, because arrogance follows closely in the shadow of success. Someone once said that men who respond to good fortune with modesty and kindness are harder to find than those who face adversity with courage. It is easy to be humble when you are at the bottom, but it is harder when you are at the top. Therefore we must always remain humble. I tell our employee’s that they should look around when they are deploying a site in Mamelodi and remind themselves how lucky they are and be grateful to have the opportunity to help others.

Going the extra mile is another important component of our success. The extra mile is never crowded.  That is why we have gone beyond the call of duty from day one working with the City of Tshwane. We have fixed fibre, servers and fixed networks. Our employees has gone the extra mile every time we were given the opportunity. We never stop asking ourselves what we can do to help our colleagues and clients that they do not expect us to do.

Respect is the single most important ingredient for success. We must respect each other, city officials, suppliers and the communities where we work. The moment we lose respect, is the moment we start to fail. The beauty of South Africa is that our land is filled with diverse people with diverse backgrounds and diverse upbringings. The flip side is that it is easy to judge people who look different or sound different or do things in a different way.

Our success is also built on helping people before we help ourselves. There is no better way to create loyalty and trust than putting others first constantly. We must trust that there will come a day when all those whom we have helped, will return the favour.

We always focus on rolling out our networks faster and better every day and keeping costs down. Keeping costs down is what gives us our edge. Our edge is that we get things done at a fraction of the price of a traditional telecommunications company while delivering faster broadband speeds.

Today, thanks to our efforts, a scholar in Ga-Rankuwa is downloading his textbooks on our network. An elderly lady in Soshanguve is finding online advice for arthritis. An Afrikaner in Atteridgeville is learning the words to Nkosi sikelel’ iAfrika. A newly-minted matriculant in Mamelodi is emailing his CV to a prospective employer. A shy teenage chess master in Thohoyandou is falling in love with someone on Facebook. An aspiring politician in Mt Frere is learning about Nelson Mandela on Wikipedia. A young Xhosa girl is listening to a song on YouTube in Lusikisiki.

We are helping people. We are making a difference in people’s lives. That is why it is all worth it, that is why we are winning and that is why one day we will be rewarded.

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